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Creative Capacity Development: Learning to Adapt in Development Practice

Jenny Pearson
Creative Capacity Development: Learning to Adapt in Development Practice
ISBN: 978-1-56549-330-8
ISBN: 978-1-56549-329-2
2011/205 pages/LC: 2011002058
A Kumarian Press Book
"A readable yet analytical account of how to deal with one of the most intractable challenges in development—building the capacity of an organization to deliver cutting edge programs. I recommend the book highly to anyone interested in practical lessons about how to improve the effectiveness of small to medium-sized organizations in developing countries."—Heather Baser, CIDA and ECDPM

"Pearson's story of a 'learning journey' echoes the essence of modern capacity development thought. Her presentation of an approach used by a local Cambodian NGO resonates powerfully within leading donor bureaucracies as they confront the massive challenges of context-specific development around the world."—James Hradsky, OECD

"This should be compulsory reading for every first world donor and development 'expert,' every peace building and human rights practitioner, every development studies student, and every fresh faced volunteer to the third world.... The lessons shared here are authentic and rich, as Jenny Pearson has honestly shared the successes, failures, assumptions, and vulnerabilities of her own development practice journey."—Emma Leslie, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, Cambodia


Jenny Pearson tells the story of a nongovernmental organization on a path to improve the quality of its programs by becoming a learning organization—and by making room for creative risks and innovation.

Offering an unflinching appraisal of her own assumptions and setbacks as she established VBNK (the Institute to Serve Facilitators of Development) in Cambodia, Jenny Pearson explains how a dynamic and open learning process allowed VBNK to build its own capacity to support others.


Jenny Pearson is founder of VBNK, a capacity-building NGO in Cambodia.


  • Foreword—Peter Morgan.
  • Introduction.
  • Culture and Context.
  • Serving a Sector.
  • A Learning Journey.
  • Creativity and New Dimensions of Response.
  • Organizational Nuts and Bolts.
  • Learning From the Long Haul: Some Conclusions.
  • Appendix: Post Trauma Stress Disorder and Its Relevance in Postconflict Societies.